Montréal, the largest city in Canada, is a lovely place to visit. It is a perfect destination for a long weekend or a few days, and certainly a popular place for expats to live. Montréal’s atmosphere reminds us a little bit of New York City. One thing is sure: the magic of the Québec region is present there!
Canada is the second country we visited on our world tour / honeymoon after starting in Alaska. Thus, after arriving by boat on the West Coast in Vancouver City, we quickly visited Whistler before flying to the East Coast where we enjoyed the Québec region for a few weeks. There, we spent some time in Québec City, before making a few days stop in Montréal on our road towards Vermont in the United States.
Here are our top 15 favorite things to do in the city of Montréal
- Glance at the magnificent houses in the Plateau and Miles-End neighborhoods
- Climb to enjoy the incredible view of the city from the Mont-Royal Park (and perhaps witness a marriage proposal like us)
- Feast on dozens of different poutine recipes in La Banquise or in the Poutineville chain (both offer vegan cheese options)
- Attend a hockey game for the honest price of $10 at McGill University (be careful not to enter with food, we had to hide our chocolates behind a tree outside and pick them up at the end of the game)
- Marvel inside the Notre-Dame Basilica, especially by attending the special AURA light show experience
- Be enchanted by the magic of Christmas… any time of the year at the Noël Eternel Christmas store next to the Notre-Dame Basilica
- Eat churros while strolling on the Old Port (salted butter caramel 100% vegan and lactose free at M Churros Mme Banane)
- Go back in time while wandering in the Old Montréal
- Have a breakfast or lunch at Chez Claudette, another institution in the city offering traditional food from Québec
- Retrospect in the peaceful Mont Royal Cemetery and stroll through the park
- Brunch in one of the many institutions of the city such as the restaurant le Vieux Vélo
- Go shopping (or rather “magasiner” as they say in Québec) in the impressive underground shopping center Complexe Desjardins
- Treat yourself with delicious lactose free and vegan pastries as well as hot chocolates at Végo (also offering buffets)
- Relax at the La Fontaine Park
- Drool in front of a beaver tail (Do you know this? For real it’s delicious!)
How to get to Montréal?
Montréal is easy to reach, you can get there by plane, car, train, bus or even cruise ship.
We tested for you: carpooling between Montréal and Québec with the website AmigoExpress.com. We love carpooling, which we have already done in different countries. It is a system, secured by the registration on websites, which allows to meet people and save money (for the driver and for passengers). In some cases this may be the cheapest, fastest and most direct mode of transportation.
For our departure from Montréal, we took a Greyhound bus to go directly to the Vermont region in the United States. We all got off the bus to cross the US border, which was no easier to cross by bus than by plane!
Some useful words in Québécois French
- “Salut” : Hello
- “Merci” : Thanks
- “Pardon” : Sorry
If you are already a French speaker, check out some differences between French in Québec and France in the French version of this article.
Clémentine’s reading (and movie) list about Montréal
- In order to choose the best guide, it depends on your trip:
- For a short stay, the Lonely Planet guide Montréal and Québec city
- If you plan to visit other parts of the country, the Lonely Planet guide Best of Canada or Canada travel guide
- A very funny book about Canada, Parking the Moose, One American’s Epic Quest to Uncover His Incredible Canadian Roots by Dave Hill.
- The novel by Joseph Boyden, The Orenda, for a one-way trip to 17th century Canada.
- For the food lovers: the excellent cookbook from the famous Montréal restaurant owners Joe Beef ; Surviving the Apocalypse
- A movie, to cross Canada from East to West from your couch, we recommend the moving film One Week.